When you think of Vegas wild life, you might be thinking about over-the-top bachelor parties and all-night gambling adventures. But there's another kind of wildlife in Vegas, and it's kind that swims, runs or flies. In Las Vegas there are many destinations that offer shows and attractions that will appeal to animal lovers. Here are just a few.
1. Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium
One of the best Las Vegas attractions for animal lovers is the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium. It offers glimpses of some rare and not so rare marine life, such as the Golden Crococile, Asian Water Monitor and 15 species of sharks from which it gets its name. All together, there are more than 2,000 animals and over 100 different species displayed here. The largest exhibit is the 1.3 million gallon shipwreck, where visitors experience an almost 360-degree view of sharks and fish through an acrylic tunnel. The Touch Pool is also a popular attraction, where guests can touch a rotating collection of animals such as sharks, rays or horseshoe crabs.
2. Disney's The Lion King Musical Show
The Mandalay Bay is home to another activity animal lovers might enjoy - the musical production of Disney's The Lion King. The hotel websites says you'll marvel at the "breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by an enormous company of international performers, whose detailed costumes, carved masks, and intricate makeup will transport you to the gorgeous vistas of the African savanna." Over 50 million people worldwide have seen productions of The Lion King, and it's still going strong. The show has won a Tony Award for Best Musical and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, so it's definitely worth checking out.
3. Silverton Hotel and Casino Aquarium
Another great aquarium is the 117,000-gallon exhibit at the Silverton Hotel and Casino. This attraction is completely free to the public and is fun for children big and small. Interactive feeding shows are offered three times daily. The marine biologist inside the tank is equipped with a special scuba mask that allows him to answer guests’ questions during the feeding show. Also, don't miss the live mermaid swim! Mermaid swims are scheduled Thursday through Sunday.
4. The Tank at the Golden Nugget
But if you're not content just standing outside a tank to observe sharks and ocean life, check out The Tank at the Golden Nugget. This pool complex lets you get up close with some of the oceans’ sleekest and deadliest beings as you take a ride through an enclosed waterslide that goes through the middle of the shark tank.
5. The Lion Habitat at MGM Grand
The Lion Habitat at MGM Grand is a three-story complimentary exhibit to "honor the lion and help safeguard its preservation for future generations." The MGM offers periodic lectures about the cats, and there's a great plexiglass tunnel that allows visitors to get up close to the animals on the second level of the habitat, where you can often find the king of the jungle snoozing. And lest you worry about these big cats being enclosed in this area with no place to roam - the lions don't actually live here. The MGM has an 8.5-acre ranch 12 miles away where the cats spend most of their time. Only a few are brought to the hotel each day for tourists to admire.
6. Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
At Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage, you can see white lions, white tigers, panthers, and leopards, or become a Trainer for the Day and interact with the hotel's family of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins. In addition to the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, the Mirage is also home to the 20,000-gallon Mirage Aquarium, which stretches 53 feet behind the front desk. It's home to more than 1000 coral reef animals representing 60 species from Australia, Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji, the Red Sea, the Marshall Islands, the Sea of Cortez and the Caribbean.
7. Comedy Pet Theater
Popovich's Comedy Pet Theater at the V Theater is another great Vegas show for animal lovers. The amazing cast of dogs and cats all have been rescued from animal shelters by Moscow Circus-trained juggler Gregory Popovich and trained to do tricks such as jump over hurdles and balance on thin beams. But these dogs and cats can perform other less-common stunts, too, such as portraying train passengers who hand their tickets to the conductor or posing as students and pointing to locations on a globe. Combined with Popovich's comedy and world-championship juggling, this is a show everyone can enjoy.
8. The Jackpot Bird Show
The Jackpot Bird Show at its new location at Las Vegas Rocks Cafe is another great show for animal lovers. This family-friendly show features "the most beautiful and amazingly talented parrots you've ever seen," along with their human companions, Debbie and Mark. The hour-long shows features poker playing, painting and even mind-reading. If you're a bird lover, you'll love this show.
9. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
For more birds, visit the Wildlife Habit at the Flamingo. This free exhibit allows you to walk along pathways near streams and waterfalls to view a flock of live Chilean Flamingos, as well as other birds, including swans, ducks, pheasants, parrots and others.
10. Las Vegas Zoo
Another attraction animal lovers might enjoy is the Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park (aka the Las Vegas Zoo). The 3-acre park is located just 15 minutes northwest of the Las Vegas Strip and exhibits over 150 species of plants and animals. Despite its small size, the zoo can lay claim to having the last family of Barbary Apes in the United states, as well as being one of the few U.S zoos where you can see fossa, a carnivorous mammal native to Madagascar. In addition to these creatures, you'll also find wallabies, chimpanzees, emus, flamingos and exotic reptiles at the zoo.
So whether you're wanting to see mind-reading parrots, swim with sharks, or get up close and personal with an African lion, Vegas has an attraction just right for you.